My wife Pam takes her turn at a blog. It seems all painters of Jesus’ crucifixion feel obliged to garb him with a loin cloth. But just as Adam and Eve found themselves naked so did out Lord Jesus. He refused to let shame cling to Him. In fact, the cross was His way to cover ours!
Chew on this for good nourishment! Steve
Hebrews 12 leads us through some of Jesus’ darkest and most determined moments. As I read the first few verses my mind paused to consider what he may be asking us to despise and endure.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1-2
Challenging times are increasing in the western world. Western Christians for the most part have not really experienced persecution and by choice have become silent even in the face of devastating intimidation and limits placed on us.
If we look back across Jesus’ earthly life we can easily see times of difficulty. Consider His 40 days in the wilderness. Would he ask you, me, to suffer unrelenting difficulty and in our darkest most devastating moment, allow Satan to test us?
It was difficult enough to fast 40 days and nights but the testing beyond seems cruel. Perhaps we need to relook at the discipline of the Lord? Can we begin to challenge the soft and self-focused life we accepted as normal? These are my observations and questions as I ask Abba to lead me through this passage, in light of today.
When I don’t get what I want or think I need, or when others are credited or lauded and no one notices me, how will I handle it? Have I become so full of self-pity that I cannot lift my eyes from childhood pain or lack, and waddle about with a broken wing dragging behind me. These are shames, hostilities, making us weary.
Yet we are reminded there is a circle of beings watching from heaven. So cast off the weight-wearying burden, lift those cast down eyes and shrug off discouragement.
Jesus is our example. He looked to the one who wrote his life script and completed it before any of it was lived. We too must ‘count it all joy’ realizing our life is lived in a sinful world with lawless and sinful people trying with all their determination to get their way, all trying to be a god.
Perhaps we would agree we have been asleep and ill-guided by allowing someone else to tell us what is true. Most people have not studied out their beliefs but simply followed a speaker they prefer. This is an error. Luke shows us to be like the Bereans who searched the word of God “to see” if what others say is true.
While our brothers and sisters suffered persecution and the ultimate sacrifice by giving their own lives we slept and shook our heads and clicked our tongues. Now we see our liberties and values being squeezed in the vise of globalism. The very hand of evil and it seems the symbols are everywhere in plain view.
Our preoccupation with “poor me” with the litanies of past hurts and trauma cost us. Jesus experienced our every “hard knock.” He is offering us a victorious solution.
He’s not denying the pain or struggle he’s simply overlooking it, “despising the shame.” What a huge realization. He was fully human to experience everything we have in a sinful world, yet spotless.
How do we despise our shameful, sin laden life, the exposure of our self-nature? How, when alone, and we feel the lack of positive supporting “ata’boys,” “Got your back honey” and “You can do it?”
We look into the face of our elder Brother. We consider Him, who overcame. We humbly walk in that mercy and grace, looking to his example.
We must spend more time in the secret place to rise in the hour of need. We will not fail if we believe like Caleb, repent like David and hold a heart of gratitude like the returning leper.
I find such richness in Hebrews 12, as it examines my heart. Let it train us to be the children of God. Despising the shame and embracing the Joy set before us, we endure for our prize.
Kindly, Pam Johnson
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the [c]chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:3-11